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Thread: Running an OS on CF-how to fix "removable" CF issue?

  1. #1

    Default Running an OS on CF-how to fix "removable" CF issue?

    Hi everyone I apologize in advance for the long post.

    I have a Compaq Presario 4122 and I'm trying to run Windows 95 or 98 on it using a CF card.

    I've done some reading and it looks like not all CF cards are "bootable." I found a program called ATCFWCHG.COM that will supposedly turn a "removable" CF card to a "fixed" Card allowing the computer to see it during boot up. I know that there are "industrial" CF cards out there that are seen as fixed disks, but they can be hard to come by and are more expensive. I'm using a 16 GB Sandisk CF card.

    Instructions on how to use ATCFWCHG.COM are scarce and very limited online. Adding on to this is that most of the instructions out there are from forum threads from 2010 etc...

    I loaded free dos onto a floppy disk and also copied ATCFWCHG.COM to the same disk. I then connected by CF/IDE card adapter to the primary IDE port on the Compaq. The Compaq was able to boot form the floppy in to freedos. I was able to see ATCFWCHG.COM in the directory of the floppy.

    However, when I tried executing the program, the Compaq freezes. Now I didn't leave the thing on for more than a minute or two, but I don't think it should take that long for it to execute a dos program.

    So, I went to the next best alternative I had. I used a more "modern" pc that has both SATA and IDE interfaces on the motherboard. Only the CF card/IDE adapter was connected to the motherboard. Then I Loaded up free dos (this time on a flash drive) and was able to execute ATCFWCHG.COM using the following command:

    ATCFWCHG /P /F

    unfortunately, I get this message: error 20 A google search showed one thread that mentioned this may be due to the fact that the program is unable to "see" the CF card connected to the primary IDE port.

    I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong here. Could someone offer any suggestions? Is the error message occurring because I'm using a newer board that has both SATA and IDE connections (no sata devices were connected)?.

    I've literally been stuck on this problem for a week, trying to figure out the different factors that could be causing the problem. Right now I've narrowed it down to the fact that I'm using a newer board and perhaps to the CF/IDE card adapter I'm using (bios is able to see the CF card using the adapter).

    Has anyone used this program and now how to get it to successfully work? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Win9x shouldn't care about the removability issue, but XP certainly does. I've done it, but the gyrations aren't simple.

  3. #3

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    Be very careful, Using these type's of programs on a CF card it wasn't meant for can render the CF card useless, Years ago there were lots of programs around like ATCFWCHG.COM, At best they did nothing and the CF card worked as before but at worst they rendered the CF card useless, Been there and suffered the consequences. I remember using ATCFWCHG.COM and it did nothing but render the CF card i used Unbootable.

    But like Chuck said, Win9x shouldn't care about the removable issue.

  4. #4

    Default

    Another example of where a DOM is preferable to a CF.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  5. #5
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    ...or just get the right kind of CF. Same applies to microdrives.

  6. #6

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    I'm curious what ATCFWCHG actually changes within the CF card? Config bits in a non data area?

  7. #7

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    what CF cards are known to work without any prior modifications?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dagwood View Post
    I'm curious what ATCFWCHG actually changes within the CF card? Config bits in a non data area?
    Exactly, using vendor-specific ATA commands. Basically, instructing the firmware to behave differently. Often, the firmware itself is stored in the data flash, which is why these devices can be bricked completely.

  9. #9
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    I've used a CF card running Windows XP before. The hard way was to format the CF card using a Windows 95B or Windows 98 (DOS 7.10) boot disk to create the CF card as FAT32 and format with the system files, then install XP on top of the file system (do not format).

    It did work, but, the HDD was better for XP. I use a CF to 44 pin IDE in my Toshiba Satellite Pro 410CDT and I will upgrade to either an industrial card or find an mSATA drive less than 8GB mSATA drive and convert that to IDE.
    Current retro systems:
    Commodore 64 Breadbin 250407 Rev. C
    Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus
    Toshiba Satellite Pro 410CDT, IBM ThinkPad 380D DSTN
    iMac G3/600 Graphite, iMac G4/800 Lampshade
    YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/RetroPCUser

  10. #10

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    Both of you should stop beating your heads against that wall.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

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